(NEW YORK) — Beer aficionados are pouncing at the rare opportunity to buy one of the world’s most elusive and revered beers for the first — and perhaps only — time in the United States.
Westvleteren XII, often hailed as the “world’s best beer” by reviewers, is produced by Trappist monks in Belgium and sold at the abbey of Saint Sixtus in the Belgian countryside. The beer can usually only be purchased by reservation at the abbey — and reservations are extremely hard to come by.
But when the abbey found itself hurting for money for an expensive renovation, the monks reluctantly made the decision to sell the beer outside of the walls of the monastery on a one-time-only basis.
Beginning Wednesday, limited quantities of the beer are being sold in the U.S. and abroad. A special gift basket, which includes six bottles and two glasses from the monastery, retails for $84.99.
“The phone has been ringing off the hook,” Megan McBrayer, manager at New York City’s Beer Table Pantry, told ABC News. She said the store received 24 cases of the beer and has already sold many of them.
“It’s been something that [beer lovers] have wanted for a long time,” she said, “but it’s been completely unattainable.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Chandrika Narayan and Steve Almasy, CNN
KJ Kwon and Ben Westcott, CNN
Barbara Starr, CNN
Emanuella Grinberg, CNN